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Though expanding trade worldwide has been a priority of the Clinton
administration, as well as pro-trade factions within the Republican
Congress, most Americans show little support for re-opening normal trade
ties with former U.S. enemy Vietnam.

According to

Portrait of America,
only 22 percent of respondents

to a
new poll
measuring support for a recently signed deal with Vietnam favor any U.S. trade with a communist country. Further, poll analysts found, 49 percent say the U.S. should not trade with Vietnam specifically.

Also, “Portrait of America found little substantive difference in attitudes toward Vietnam between Americans who had an immediate family member in the Vietnam war and Americans who had no one in their close family involved in the war,” the survey said.

Rasmussen Research conducted the survey of 1,021 adults on July 25 and 26. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

Besides measuring opposition to the new trade deal, Portrait of America analysts studied reaction to a provision of the new Clinton administration pact that would allow U.S. firms to actually own businesses in the communist country. Additionally, researchers questioned respondents about Vietnamese companies being permitted to own businesses in the U.S.

“Making money is not always the prominent factor in the American public’s decision-making,” analysts said Wednesday. The survey also found that “61 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should trade only with countries which respect human rights instead of basing its trade policy on just economic considerations.”

The poll also sought input from respondents about trade in the absence of a free press, as well as whether Americans believed the trade deal would help Vietnam’s economy or help Hanoi improve human-rights conditions.

Meanwhile, campaign aides to Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, chosen Tuesday by Vice President Al Gore to be his running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket Nov. 7, said the two-term Orthodox Jew received two deferments during the Vietnam era, which prevented him from being drafted.

Aides told reporters Wednesday that Lieberman received one deferment due to college and another because he was an expectant father.

Lieberman graduated from Yale College in 1964, then attended Yale Law School for the next three years. He graduated in 1967.

The Nixon administration began reducing the size of U.S. forces in Vietnam after the 1968 Tet Offensive launched by Hanoi. Draft numbers began to fall off regularly until Nixon ended the draft in 1973.

Today, young men are required to register with the

Selective
Service System
when they turn 18. The age range is for young men between 18-25; the agency also provides an

online
form
registrants can use.

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